Twisted by Joseph Jomo Pierre & Charlotte Corbeil Coleman
Publishing Date: June 19, 2017
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
The Premise from the Publisher: "Growing up, Nancy believed in magic despite a hand-me-down life in a small town. So it’s no wonder the buzzing excitement of Toronto and its allure of freedom was a likely choice for her new home, the place she finds herself years later selling her body for drugs. Nancy is further from freedom than ever under the wings of Sikes, a drug dealer and pimp. When she meets Oliver, a seventeen-year-old who lands at Sikes’s feet after a life of foster care and shelters, the two find unlikely solace in each other. As text messages are exchanged by the instant, and truths are revealed, Nancy and Oliver form an unbreakable bond in order to write a new story together" (PCP).
My overall thought and review: This play has been pitched as "part Dickens, part Drake," both which I like. It was nice seeing some Drake aspects pop up, and seeing the setting of Toronto. In this play, Dicken's Oliver is re-imagined as Ollie and he becomes intertwined with Nancy, who sells her body for drugs. They find a connection together and what the viewer sees is a series of text messages. Apparently when the play is performed live, the text messages are shown on screen, which is a nice touch and I would definitely like to see live. I liked these text messages because they seemed as if Ollie and Nancy inhabited a world where it was just the two of them. They both want to 'escape' this life of drugs and pimps, and they want more to life, together. Things change when Nancy asks Ollie to help her 'save' someone and start a new beginning. Things get complicated because of Sikes and Dodger, who do not take kindly to snitches. Both playwrights each took to writing one character, and I liked seeing that each character was quite distinct in their voices and actions. They stood on their own. However, where this play falls short for me is that it didn't feel quite cohesive. I didn't feel like it was Dicken's Oliver Twist being re-imagined, but rather just a character named Ollie. I actually found Nancy to have more OT characteristics. The play does touch on addiction with Nancy, and as the viewer/reader, you really see towards the end of the play how much it controls her. That being said, I didn't feel like it was fully explored and I would've liked to see more about that. This is really Nancy's story in my opinion, and I personally would've liked to see more about Nancy than Ollie. Overall, it was a nice play, but it touches on big topics ever so slightly. I would be curious to see if seeing it performed live would have a different effect as opposed to reading the play.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮ (3/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
Playwrights Canada Press, Chapters/Indigo, and Amazon
Disclaimer: A copy of the play was sent by Playwrights Canada Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.